Wednesday, April 27, 2011


" 'Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will
not throw open the floodgates of heaven '' " (Malachi 3:10)

We look now at God's fourth purpose for money: to show His divine
power. God is a supernatural God - something Christians seem to
forget - and He delights to demonstrate His reality and power among
His people. One means through which God has chosen to do this is
through His miraculous provision of money. What is a financial
miracle? It is a supernatural event whereby God provides one of His
children with the money required to meet a financial need - and
usually it involves such precise timing that it cannot fail to point
to the Lord's direct intervention. When a Christian prays about a
financial need, for example, and an unexpected gift is given to him
by someone who knows nothing about the need, the supernatural power
of God is demonstrated. In the days of Elijah, the nation of Israel
tried to worship God and serve Baal at the same time. Elijah knew
that this would inevitably lead to God's judgment, so he proposed a
simple test. The test involved building two altars, one for God and
one for Baal, and whichever answered by a display of supernatural
power was the one whom they would worship. The prophets of Baal cried
out to their non-existent deity all day, but nothing happened. Then
Elijah prayed, and in response to his prayer God sent fire from
heaven. One of the biggest of the false gods of this age is money. It
has become an idol because people expect from it what only God can
give - true security. As the world hankers after money, God wants to
prove to those who seek Him that they will not lack any good thing.

O Father, help me to see that I grow into the image of the God that I
serve. I don't want to be like money - hard and metallic; I want to
be like You - gracious and beneficent. Help me to keep my focus only
on You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

2 Cor 9:1-15; Deut. 30:9; Psa.132:15

Friday, April 15, 2011


"I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. " -Philippians 3:10-11 We hear a lot these days about planning and goal setting. Proponents of planning say, "If you aim at nothing, chances are you will probably hit it." They say that to wander aimlessly through life is like sailing a boat without a sail and rudder. You end up wherever the wind takes you. Paul understood his personal mission, which should be the personal mission of every believer in Jesus Christ. It is the one summary statement that best describes the purpose of our existence on earth and the goal of our Christian experience. It can be reduced to three important characteristics. To know Christ. To know and experience His power. To identify with His sufferings. All that flows from these three objectives becomes a by-product. Salvation is a by-product. Miracles are a by-product. Christlikeness is a by-product. Paul's focus was on relationship. He understood that the deeper the relationship, the more power he would experience. He also understood that as he grew in this relationship, there would be suffering. Whenever the Kingdom of Light confronts the kingdom of darkness, there is a battle, and this often results in casualties. Christ confronted these earthly kingdoms and suffered for it. If we are living at this level of obedience, we, too, will face similar battles; it simply comes with the territory. Does this sound like your personal mission statement? Is your focus in life centered on knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection? If not, press into Him today in order to begin experiencing Christ more intimately.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


"He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. " - 2 Samuel 22:35

David was a mighty warrior, and God described him as a man after His
own heart. God took David through a training ground that could be looked on
as cruel and unusual punishment by many a person. God chose him at a
young age to be the next king, yet King Saul rejected him and hunted
him down. David was a fugitive for many years. He had uprisings in his own
family, and he had relationship problems. He had a life of extreme ups
and downs. He certainly did not have a life free of problems; he made
mistakes. He was human like all of us, yet he learned from his mistakes
and repented when he failed. This was David's training ground; it made
the man. Without these hardships, it is doubtful David would have
accomplished what he did.
oward the end of David's life, he recounted his relationship with God.
It is a sermon on God's ways of dealing with a servant leader.
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes
my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You
give me Your shield of victory; You stoop down to make me great. You
broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn (2 Samuel
God was David's source for everything. God gave him the ability to
achieve the many extraordinary things in his life. It was a lifelong
training ground that moved him from one plateau to another, often
dropping into a ravine of despair and hopelessness from time to time.
These are God's ways. They drive us deeper and deeper into the heart of
Him who has prepared a way for us. Let God take you to the heights or
depths He desires for you. He never promised smooth sailing during the
trip, but He did promise to be the captain and companion along the way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


1. They experience ongoing conflict without resolution.
No relationship can bear the weight of unresolved conflict. This “baggage”
wears you down, even if you’re able to ignore it on a day-to-day basis.
Couples need the skills to talk about tough issues and to resolve them.
2. They become insensitive and demanding of each other.
With respect dissolved, couples in crisis begin to treat each other badly.
Sarcastic and biting, their language is far short of edifying and
encouraging, further eroding marital integrity.
3. The relationship is filled with criticism and derogatory comments.
They begin to feel contempt for their mate, which erodes the love they once
felt. The criticism becomes pervasive as the couple “forgets” the positives
that attracted them to their mate.
4. They find more excuses to spend time away from each other.
Feeling anger and resentment, couples find reasons to spend time apart. They
get involved in other friendships or activities, instead of spending time
5. They feel uncomfortable sharing intimate feelings with each other.
Finding their mate critical and insensitive, they begin withholding intimate
feelings and details of their daily life. They fail to provide a “safe place
for feelings to land.” This creates further distance.
6. They experience less and less physical intimacy.
Since intimacy is “into me see”, and this is seen as dangerous, the gulf
widens. Couples move apart physically, even to the point of sleeping in
separate bedrooms.
7. They compare their mate unfavorably to others.
The grass begins to look greener on the other side of the street.
Tragically, some begin flirtatious relationships and even affairs as a way
to cope with their pain. Others begin to look better than what they have at
8. They make threats about separation and divorce.
As the pain increases, many begin to make plans, if only in their minds, to
leave their mate. They fantasize what it would be like to live alone.
If you find yourself with any of these warning signs, take action. Things
will never get better on their own. Time alone will not heal your marriage.
Stop telling yourself you should be able to fix things; you can’t. Denial
(Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying!) won’t help you. You must be honest about the
condition of your marriage and take appropriate measures to heal your
relationship. Don’t let pride stop you from seeking professional help. Get a
fresh, objective perspective as to what is wrong and learn the steps
necessary to save your marriage.
You can save your marriage, but not on your own. You need God’s wisdom:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Get help now!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." - Psalm 66:12b It is nice to hear that God desires to bring us into abundance. In fact, many a preacher has promoted the goodness of the Lord and His ability to prosper His children. Alas, my experience is that this gospel of material abundance has little to do with the gospel of the Kingdom as our Lord works in the realm of the sanctified soul. The passage above tells us that God does in fact bring us into places of abundance. However, upon further study of the entire passage, we learn the route to this abundance. For you, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12). God's economy of abundance often has little to do with material blessing. In God's economy, abundance is often measured in wisdom and knowledge of Himself. It is then that we are truly blessed. Wisdom cannot be gained through intellectual pursuits. Wisdom comes only through experience. Real wisdom comes from the kinds of experiences that come only through the deepest tests. Lessons of refinement, including prison accompanied by burdens, lead us through the fire and water. This is the territory that must be traveled to reach that place of abundance. It would seem strange that a loving God would use such means with His children. What we often fail to realize is that God's measuring stick is the character and likeness of Jesus Christ Himself in each of us. This cannot be gained through a life of ease and pleasure. Ease and pleasure fail to refine. Is God using your workplace to refine you today? Has He placed you in a prison or laid burdens on your back? Take heart if this is the place you find yourself, and realize that if you are faithful through the tests, you will enter a place of abundance that few will ever attain. The darkest hour is just before daybreak.